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Newly appointed Raiders NRLW coach Darrin Borthwick is confident the club can build a strong roster for its inaugural season amid some concerns new franchises may struggle to immediately attract marquee talent.

Borthwick was unveiled as the club’s women’s coach on Thursday morning after previously holding strength and conditioning and assistant roles at the Eels, Warriors and Roosters in the NRLW since 2018.

Borthwick, who has also held a strong association with the Raiders through former feeder club Mounties, is expected to relocate from Sydney to the nation’s capital next month and get started on the full-time role.

Canberra has already been viewed as an NRLW club that may struggle to recruit big name signings in the early stages of their entry into the competition but Borthwick said the phone had already begun ringing.

“I’ve had girls reach out already and that’s a good positive for this club, [that] girls want to come down [from Sydney and Queensland],” he said on Thursday.

“I’ve also had a few conversations with some girls who have had to leave the area to go and play in the NRLW.

NRLW Expansion Announcement

“They’re excited I’ve touched base with them and they’re keen to get back down here and represent the green jersey.

“Talks are in the initial stages. I’ll leave Don [Furner] with some numbers and he can lead some chats from there [but] they want to come down and be part of this. That’s a positive, there’s so much interest.”

The upcoming NRLW expansion from six to 10 clubs is set to have a major impact on player movement in 2023 with new franchises working behind the scenes to try and lure big names to their clubs.

Likewise, NRLW clubs who have been part of the competition previously are doing all they can to fend away rivals from trying to sign their players for the 11-week competition next year.

All clubs will have a better idea around final squad sizes and the 2023 salary cap when CBA negotiations are finalised and signed off on in the coming weeks.

“The game has changed, from 2018 to the way it is now,” Borthwick said.

“The brand [the women] play and the physical shape they’re in and all they have to do, clubs are doing it better now.

“The one advantage we’ll have down here is we’re a one-team town. There are a lot of clubs up there that will be fighting for players.

“We want to build a good roster and a good culture from there. We’re under no illusions it’s going to be tough. It’s going to take a lot of work to build the club up but we’re going to give it a good crack.”

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Borthwick added he was impressed by what the Raiders already had in place compared to where he’d been previously at clubs starting up franchises.

“I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work,” he said. “To have the chance to have that spin on it from the start, that excites me.

“When I walked into the doors last week, I just know the Raiders are going to get it right.

“The investment they’re going to put in the women’s space and make it inclusive just like the men, that’s appealing for me and what the girls want.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.